Lacked a user-friendly and strategic approach to managing demand for event space
- Greater confidence in understanding future demand for meeting space
- A unified revenue management culture
It’s no small feat to optimize revenue across a diverse group of properties in multiple markets— and when that strategy extends beyond the guest room that challenge only becomes greater. Christine Wassell, director of revenue optimization for Radisson Hotel Group properties in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe, has done just that.
Christine plays the vital role of overseeing the area of 72 properties—with a wide variety of meeting and event space—balancing a central revenue-management office in Heathrow with property-level group managers for individual event business. Each of Christine’s properties needs to balance the internal challenges of managing inventory for transient guests versus group blocks for meetings and events, working alongside the Revenue Centre based in Heathrow. Plus, with such a wide geography, some hotels have a heavy focus on corporate conferences while others are more focused on social banqueting events.
“Each property is different in terms of event space size,” said Christine. “Some properties have two meeting rooms, but our larger properties have over 40. We have a real mix of how we handle business, the style of inquiries that we handle and the level of detail needed to manage those properties, meetings and events. Our previous approach to managing meetings-and-events business was not always as user-friendly as it could have been, and it did not allow us to analyze the business to form the right strategies.”
To address this challenge, Radisson Hotel Group in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe implemented IDeaS SmartSpace—a dynamic cloud-based strategy application that provides detailed visual analysis of meetings-and-events business trends and performance. SmartSpace enables the staff at the properties to extend similar rigor when evaluating meetings, events and catering business as they had with guest rooms. With data and visualizations to inform more intelligent analysis of the business, Radisson is able to understand detailed demand profiles and support the development of more effective strategies, leading to better revenue outcomes.
“SmartSpace enables a variety of people at different levels to study upcoming business in an easy and visual way,” said Christine. “With the push of a button, we can see our pace year-over-year, understand the business mix we want and know exactly what we need to do to achieve it.”
Better business decision-making
With SmartSpace in place at nearly 80 percent of the hotels in Christine’s area, sales managers and other users have utilized the tool to inform more than just demand for event space. It’s helped them understand which rooms are most popular, and which were underutilized, informing the optimal configuration of those event spaces. “In one instance, we removed a wall between a meeting room and some smaller breakout rooms, and we needed to understand the level of inquiries we’d have for a larger space,” said Christine. “SmartSpace enabled us to review this type of demand for a larger space and justify the expansion. Without SmartSpace, this would not have been as easy.”
With SmartSpace, Christine believes individual meetings-and-events teams can better collaborate with revenue management teams to achieve enhanced revenue performance across the portfolio, balancing demand for meetings-and-catering business against guest room strategies. This fosters a more holistic revenue management culture that ultimately leads to new opportunities to grow total property revenue.
“SmartSpace makes it a lot easier for us to study our booked and lost business and better prioritize sales team efforts,” said Christine. “To be able to pull vast sums of relevant data and see that presented in an intuitive and consumable format is such an advantage. It’s the first step of some very exciting progress we’re seeing in meetings and events.”